Poetry & History forum: Iriya Asagao Ichi - Iriya Morning Glory Fair

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Mar 1, 2011 8:16 AM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA
Every year, traditionally held on the days July 6, 7, 8, is the Iriya Asagao Ichi (Iriya Morning Glory Fair). Many vendors sell small pots of Japanese morning glory varieties located near the Iriya Kishimojin Temple in Ueno, in the Tokyo area. Wouldn't it be great if Japan was more accessible so we could all go to see this event in person? Here is an excellent photograph web site to see more images of the fair from 2009: http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/iriya-asagao-ichi-...

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Mar 1, 2011 9:23 AM CST
Name: Donna
Winnipeg, Manitoba Zone 4
Thanks for the link, Joseph! What a wonderful site to be able to see all those blooms!!
Mar 1, 2011 10:13 AM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA
You are welcome, Donna.

It is unclear to me if the sellers are asagao clubs, private individuals, or any of the major seed companies in Japan.

It would be cool to have some of the special trellises shown in the photographs to use in my garden. They almost appear to be plastic in composition.
Mar 1, 2011 10:27 AM CST
Name: Sarah
The plants look beautiful, and also 'well managed', the way the vines are trimmed.
Mar 1, 2011 6:10 PM CST
Name: mj
Deleon Springs, Fl
Wow, similar to some Orchid shows I've been to. I thought that pruning them would delay flowering.
Mar 2, 2011 8:38 AM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA
I have a book I am reading about life in Tokyo during the Meiji Period, titled Low City, High City, written by Edward Seidensticker. In this book (page 130), he describes the continued interest in various types of plants, including morning glory. The craze over asagao continued from the Edo Period; he writes the following which gives information about one reason why the Iriya Asagao Fair is held where it is (I suspect due to the readily available highly fertile rice paddy soil used for grow the JMGs in those early years):

"In high summer came morning glories, lotuses and irises. The Meiji emperor's own favorite iris garden, on the grounds of what is now the Meiji Shrine, was opened to the public a few years after his death. The morning glory has long had a most particular place in the life of the Low City. It was the omnipresent sign of summer, in all the tiny garden plots and along the plebeian lanes, a favorite subject, as principal and as background, in the popular art of Edo. The place to go for Meiji morning glories was Iriya, to the east of Ueno Park. It still is the place to go, but it has suffered vicissitudes in the century since its morning glories first came into prominence. In early Meiji, Iriya was still paddy land, and among the paddies were extensive nurseries. One looked across them to the Yoshiwara, the great houses which kept villas in the district. The last of the nurseries left Iriya, no longer on the outskirts of the city, in 1912, and so too, of course, did excursions for viewing and purchasing morning glories. They have returned in the last quarter of a century. For the morning-glory fair in early July, however, the plants must be brought in from what are now the northern outskirts of the city."

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Mar 29, 2011 7:50 PM CST
Jacksonville, TX
Zone 8b
Here is a video I came across on YouTube

The Asagao-ichi (Morning Glory Fair) in front of the Iriya no Kishibojin
Japan Summer 2010


Mar 29, 2011 10:42 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA
How cool is that, Emma, thanks for posting the link!
Mar 30, 2011 12:00 AM CST
Jacksonville, TX
Zone 8b
You are welcome Joseph -
I thought you might enjoy this

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